Mountain Ranch Organically Grown
60 acres in Mountain Ranch, about 128 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Norman and Aimee Gunsell.
California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF) since 2001.
Norman has been farming ever since his family moved from the suburban East Bay to the rural area of Mountain Ranch in Calaveras County 42 years ago. When he graduated from high school he took over what was then his mom’s turkey farm and raised the birds free range (although the term wasn’t around then) on contract for a large corporation for over a decade. He remained on his farm through the eighties, but the market didn't exist for his birds, so he spent years doing odd-jobs, waiting for "society to catch up." He joined forces with Aimee in 1995 and the two began a long series of business models (growing vegetables for years first) that eventually evolved to become their current operation. The couple are deeply committed to sustainability. They began selling at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in February 2009.
They Gunsells manage pests with fabric coverings for young plants, hand-removal and some organic pesticides.
Norman and Aimee keep flocks of 800-1500 pasture-raised chickens, including an heirloom variety called Lonkong (which takes longer to mature and requires quite a bit more feed), as well as the more standard Cornish Cross and Freedom Ranger varieties. They also raise 2-6 beef cattle at a time and a small flock of heritage turkeys. The Gunsells are also experimenting with growing grain for their animals.